Field Test: Comparing an 85mm and 50mm Lens for Portraits

Sigma 85mm vs Sigma 50mm lens

We’ve had some heated debates recently on the site’s Facebook page when it comes to 85mm vs 50mm lenses. We tested it out ourselves a very long time ago, but recently another posting made readers wonder about it more themselves. To figure out which lens can render a better image when it comes to portraits, we tested two lenses from the same manufacturer to put an end to the debate once and for all.

So the real question is: Which lens is better for portraits? The 85mm vs 50mm Lens?

Editor’s Note: this is a formal comparison test not done in a lab, but instead in a real life situation. Real life situations simulate shooting subjects and not test charts. Frankly, if you’re purchasing a lens just to shoot charts all day you need to open a gallery of your test chart images and see someone’s reaction to them.

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DxOMark States that the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus is the Best Portrait Lens Yet

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus product images review (2 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

DxOMark recently finished their evaluation of the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus lens in the labs. And according to them, it’s the best performing 85mm lens that they’ve tested. Indeed, with a $4,490 price tag we would expect the same thing. According to them, the two Otus lenses perform just as well as the company’s 135mm f2 on Canon DSLRs. But when it comes to Nikon DSLRs, the 55mm Otus slightly edged out the 85mm. Additionally, it outperforms any other 85mm lens out there–which only makes sense given the high end audience that this lens was designed for.

The company’s finding reaffirm ours in our real world test of the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus. We found the 55mm to be slightly sharper and also found the bokeh on the 135mm f2 to be better. Granted that’s a longer focal length.

Head on over to our full review of the Otus for more.

Watch us Run the Nikon AW1 Under a Faucet

We’ve been testing the Nikon AW1 out to see just how tough of a camera it is, and we figured that we’d start things off by giving it our standard run of the mill faucet test. Granted, the camera is billed to be able to do much more than survive running water; but at least this is a start to see what it can do. In a call with our Nikon reps, they told us to go ahead and do the test. However, they made sure to tell us that all of the seals and doors must be totally closed first. With that in mind, we ensured that this step was taken first.

In the video above, we show you what steps you need to take and ultimately whether or not the Nikon AW1 survives. Take a look! The Nikon AW1 kit is selling for under $800 over at Amazon right now.

The Sony A7s Can Probably See Better in the Dark Than You Can

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7s first impressions photos (1 of 22)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 5.0

Sony’s A7s has already been touted to be able to have lots of dynamic range and some crazy low light abilities. But we didn’t expect that it was able to see in near pure darkness. The folks over at EOS HD decided to put the 12MP high ISO camera to the test. To do this, they shot in nearly pure darkness at ISO 8000-40,000 and shot with the Canon 35mm f1.4 L lens–one that is softer than the latest Sigma iteration.

What the video shows us is that the footage holds up really well up to 102,400 but then we start to see a loss of details after that–but that could also be YouTube’s compression doing it nasty thing. Still though, this is much better than many other cameras out there and in the real world all that matters is what folks see on their screens. NoFilmSchool has featured many different tests like one with Canon gear against Kodak Film and Canon vs Panasonic. But it seems like Sony is really taking the lead now. Canon may have to respond to this in some way or another–especially at the price point of the Sony A7s.

The video is after the jump.

Via Petapixel and EOS HD

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How Fast Does Your SD Card Need to Be?

SD Card Port

The site puts a ton of cameras and lenses through tests every month. And as these devices come and go in our hands, we often experience differences in performance based on the SD cards that we use. So we had the idea to show off the differences between a 100x speed SD card and a 400X speed SD card. Both cards were 32GB cards and were tested in a camera that was notorious for its write speeds: the Fujifilm X Pro 1.

The differences will shock you. Hit the jump for more.

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Review: iPad Air

iPadair 2013-12-28 22.01.23

When you think about digital devices like tablets you have to think about how they have affected us. iPads have integrated themselves into our lives–especially the lives of photographers. We use them to show our portfolios, have contracts signed, check email, manage things and even read magazines. They are great tools to have. Earlier on this year, Apple released the iPad Air–the latest evolution in the lineup. And though it’s got quite some charm, do you really need it?

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Watch Us Run the Pentax K3 Under a Faucet

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax K3 first impressions product photos (2 of 8)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 3.2

We recently published our Pentax K3 review, but did not do a thorough weather sealing test. In all honesty, that was our fault. When I was packing the camera back up to be shipped back to Pentax, I didn’t realize that they sent us a weather sealed lens along with it. And as a result, we’re working on updating our review of the camera.

So, just how much weather sealing does the Pentax K3 have?

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First Sample Images from the Sony A7r and 55mm f1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r first samples (1 of 1)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 2.0

We’re in Nashville, TN with Sony testing out some of their latest gear in a totally different environment from what we’re used to. Today, we managed to take the new Sony A7r and 55mm f1.8 out for a walk around the city. Here are some quick samples. They are JPEGs shot in the camera and converted for the web in Lightroom.

Check them out after the jump. The EXIF info is in the image filename.

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